By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- One true test for a football team is its ability to bounce back from a defeat. Maryland has had plenty of
practice at it, and still hasn't perfected the technique.
Now, it's time to see how Boston College fares. The Eagles' pursuit of a national championship was interrupted last week with a 27-17 loss to Florida State. The setback dropped Boston College from second to eighth in the AP poll and put the Eagles in position for the first time to see how they cope with adversity.
Boston College (8-1, 4-1 ACC) is absolutely certain there will be no letdown against Maryland (4-5, 1-4) on Saturday night.
"I don't think it's going to be a problem at all. Our goal has always been to win the ACC championship game, and anything else would have been extra," Eagles coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "We're still right in the thick of things. Our goal is to win the ACC first. If that happens, we'll see what happens after that."
Boston College had four turnovers against the Seminoles, but there's nothing to be gained by lamenting the loss.
"It's just one game, it's one isolated incident and you have to go ahead and put it behind you and make sure we prepare and try and play well this week," Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan said. "That's the focus."
Boston College's loss was no less agonizing than Maryland's first defeat, an overtime disaster at Wake Forest on Sept. 22 in which the Terrapins blew a 24-3 lead. Maryland rebounded to beat Rutgers the following week.
After their next loss, however, the Terrapins lost again. And again. Now mired in a three-game skid, Maryland needs to win two of three to qualify for a bowl bid.
The problem is that the Terps have been left woefully short-handed by a series of injuries that has wiped out the offensive line and picked apart a defense that needs all the help it can get against Ryan & Co.
"I've never had a season like this -- ever," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "The good thing about it is our players. They haven't responded negatively to negative things. I told them that the only thing we have to worry about is what we can control. We're not going to undo what's been done."
Junior linebacker Erin Henderson, who already missed a game this season with a sore knee, intends to play Saturday despite being hindered by a back injury. He expects to see a Boston College team looking for redemption.
"They were having a dream season. I know they're going to be trying to get back on track, and I know they're just as excited to get that taste out of their mouth as we have been for the past three weeks," Henderson said.
This will be the final home game for 15 Maryland seniors. "I'm sure they're going to be pumped up and ready to go," Ryan said. "And night games, they always provide a little bit of extra excitement. It's going to be fun, and we're going to be prepared for it."
Boston College linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who scored two touchdowns in last year's 38-16 rout of Maryland, sprained his ankle against Florida State and is questionable for Saturday night. If he's not healthy enough to go, he will provide plenty of vocal support on the sideline.
"We sill have a lot of play for. Our season isn't over," Dunbar said. "We still have a lot of goals that can be reached. So, as long as we continue to play hard and focus and execute, we should be all right."
Source: A.P. Wire; Photo Credit: Collegiate Images